Ironton City Council meeting about ‘good things’

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 13, 2022

While the Ironton City Council agenda was small with just two ordinances on it, there was a lot of talk of the good things that could be upcoming in the near future.

Mayor Sam Cramblit II began his segment with “quite a few good things.”

First up was the Prepared Communities grant the city received. He said a list of short-term economic recommendations had been drawn up, and the good news is that a lot of the things have already been worked on. He said toward the end of the month, they could discuss the list.

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He also spoke of a $500 million bill recently passed by the Ohio General Assembly to help improve things like infrastructure, tourism development, education and workforce training and community health in 32 Appalachian counties, including Lawrence County.

“They want us to be big players with getting that money and being strategic with how we market our projects,” Cramblit said. “They will be down here in three weeks.”

He said that KYOVA Regional Commission has agreed to pay for the engineering costs of a road project from the Ironton High School to the area around the Shake Shoppe.

He said there is a possibility that they could pay for 80 percent of the construction costs next year.

In audience participation, Amanda Cleary, with the non-profit Third and Center group, told council about the Summer Solstice Music and Arts Festival which will take place next Saturday at the Ironton riverfront. It starts with free community yoga session at 10:30 a.m., talent shows for adults and kids, and will feature artists jazz trio Person2Person, Corduroy Brown, from Huntington, West Virginia, and the John Ingraham Band, of Charleston, West Virginia.

“It is a free community event,” she said. “There will be lot of fun activities for our youth as well as food trucks and artisan vendors.”

The community is also invited to take part in a live mural installation that is being done in partnership with an Ironton High School student and Bluegrass Mama Creations.

“We are taking a part of the floodwall that is covered in graffiti and transforming it into a beautiful mural,” Cleary said.

Third and Center also helped organize a fundraiser to purchase nine 90-gallon trash cans for the riverfront.

After that, Cleary spoke of further projects the community arts group have in mind, such as restoring more of the murals on the floodwall, starting with the State of Ohio mural, which they hope to finish this summer. In the fall, an artist will do a mural called “Ironton, Ohio” featuring historic places in Ironton.

Cleary said they are working toward putting in a handicapped accessible swing in Etna Park since a fire over the weekend destroyed the playground equipment at the former Open Door school.

“That was our only handicapped-accessible swing structure in the city and it is imperative we provide recreation opportunities for all of our youth,” she said.

Vice Mayor Chris Haney said they will be putting the rec levy on the November general election ballot after the measure failed in the primary election because the votes tied at 731 to 731. Under Ohio law, a levy must have the majority of yes votes to pass. They have to pass an ordinance in the next three meetings to get it on the ballot.

The rec levy was simply a renewal and wouldn’t raise costs on property owners.

Haney said this time around they would do a better job of sharing what all the rec levy does in the town.

“We would like to share the things that the rec levy does for Ironton and we need to show what it does for Ironton and what we are able to do with that money,” he said, adding that it goes for things like the Memorial Day Pickle Ball tournament, which he said got nothing but positive comments. “It was a great event put on through Third and Center and the Ironton Recreation Department.”

In items on the agenda:

• Council voted to suspend the rules and have second and third reading of an ordinance for the mayor to contract with the Shelly Company to make improvements on the First Street to Pine Street roadway. The bid was for $241,904.05. The project is to be completed by Sept. 17, 2022.

• Heard second reading on an ordinance to tie the rates of city monthly billed usage rates and other fees with the federal Consumer Price Index. That would mean if the CPI goes up, city rates would go up and if the CPI goes down, the rates would also go down. The only fee excluded is the storm and utility fee. The third and final reading will be at the next meeting.

The Ironton City Council meets next at 6 p.m. on June 23 in council chambers on the third floor of the Ironton City Center. The meetings are open to the public.